India, Russia to deepen economic, energy cooperation

Moscow, Oct 21 (IANS) India and Russia agreed to deepen their economic engagement through greater investment and trade and explored prospects of greater energy cooperation by examining a land route to transport hydrocarbons to India as visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Vladimir Putin held their annual summit talks here Monday.

Both sides also decided to push for early completion of negotiations on a commercial deal for the third and fourth nuclear reactors for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu.

Addressing newspersons after holding around an hour and a half of restricted talks in the Green Drawing Room of the Grand Kremlin Palace and delegation level talks at the 14th summit, both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Putin described their bilateral ties as built on mutual friendship and trust.

Both sides also agreed to cooperate in counter terrorism, and found congruence in their views on global issues, including on Syria and closer home in Afghanistan.

Manmohan Singh described bilateral ties with Russia as "occupying a very special place in India's foreign policy".

Signifying the importance of the relations, the prime minister said "the level of trust and confidence that we have in our relations with Russia is unmatched by any of our other relationship".

Manmohan Singh, who has attended 10 of the 14 summits with the Monday's one, the fifth in Moscow, said Putin had "contributed a lot" to the making of the bilateral partnership a truly a "special and privileged" one.

The annual bilateral summit was begun in 2000 and held alternately in each country.

On Kudankulam, Putin said he was happy that the first reactor had gone critical and was poised to be connected to the electricity grid "in a few hours".

The first reactor of Kudankulam is poised to start producing electricity soon.

On the third and fourth reactors, on which a commercial deal has got stuck due to concerns over India's civil liability laws, Putin said both sides have plans to construct the third and fourth units.

Manmohan Singh said that "we have directed our officials to resolve all outstanding issues at the earliest".

(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at ranjana.n@ians.in)

--Indo-Asian news service

rn/tb/vd

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